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Chopsticks

This year Chinese New Year falls on Saturday of January 28.  According to Chinese zodiac, this year is the year of Rooster.  Rooster ranks tenth of the twelve animals in the 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle.  Every 12 years there is a rooster year.

I have attached a video of chopsticks from  youtube.  It is eating utensil which have been used by the Chinese over 6000 years and by many East Asians. Chopsticks has been a significant part of the Chinese culture. Through chopsticks we learn many things and it is a connection between people.  Happy Chinese New Year !!  May the year of Rooster brings prosperity and good health to all of you.

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pic source: history.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stir Fried Chilly Eggplant (辣椒茄子)

I don’t know about you, but I love to eat eggplant only if it is cooked with chilly. When we were young, my mom often cooked eggplant. Only once in a while we had it with chilly, because dad doesn’t eat chilly at all. When she did cook, the eggplant plate would always be emptied in an instant. It was very tasty and delicious. I guess, any food cooked with chilly will always turn out delicious. The way she cooked it was to first fry the eggplant till it was soft then stir fried them with chilly. Nowadays as we are more health conscious, we try to avoid fatty things and usually cook with less oil. Softening the eggplant by steaming it is another way we adopt right away. Here is my eggplant dish!

What you need: bay leaves. One or two long eggplants, 2 tomatoes, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 shallots and 2 slices of blue ginger/galangal. Cut them all in slices. Chilly paste as much as you like. I used my own home made chilly paste. Or you can just forgo the chilly all together.

This is how you prepare the dish: in the pre-heat wok, fry the garlic, onion and galangal and bay leaves till fragrance or slightly brown. Add the chilly paste and tomatoes. Stir fry them till the tomato becomes juice like. Add sugar and salt to your taste. Keep stir fry it for ten to fifteen minutes and it slightly dries up. Then add the pre-steamed eggplants in. Mix them well and stir fry for another few minutes more till it all blend well. Alternatively, if you do not like eggplant, you may use prawns or fish. Similarly, stir fried them with chilly and tomatoes the same way. But remember to fry prawns/fish first. I hope you like my chilly eggplant dish. Enjoy!

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Steam Sweet Potato Cake (蒸番薯糕)

Honestly, I have never ever made any cakes before. Cake making to me is a lot of work; the ingredients have to be measured; the eggs have to be beaten, pans have to be coated and many other endless things to do. The easiest way is to buy it from stores. There is no cleaning and messiness and the cakes always taste good. Until one day, I realized that my favourite childhood steam sweet potato cake that was once in the stores disappeared. They do not sell it anymore. This sweet potato cake layer with coconut milk has been my most favorite cake among many other. So I searched for recipe in the internet and tried to make it. This is the result of it. It looked good and I must say it’s not very bad for a first timer either.

The steam cakes are made of 2 layers: the orange layer is sweet potatoes and the white layer is coconut milk.

Sweet potato layer we need:

300 grams sweet potatoes

60 grams of corn starch

50 grams of rice flour

120 grams sugar

250 ml coconut milk

½ tea-spoon salt

Coconut milk layer:

150 ml coconut milk

5 table-spoon warm water

3 table-spoon rice flour

1 table-spoon corn starch

½ tea-spoon salt

Mix each of all the ingredients above.

  • Use small tea cups and coat them with cooking oil.
  • Steam or boil the sweet potatoes. When it’s done, peeled and mashed them. Add the entire ingredient to the potato. Use the fine mesh strainer, filter it. This is in order to get that smooth cake.
  • Pour into the small tea cups filling only ¾ of it. Do not fill it to the brim; you won’t be able to add the white layer.
  • Steam them till cooked for about 10 minutes.
  • Then pour the white on top of it and steam again for another 15 minutes. When it’s done, take the cake out of the cups and serve.

The pancakes you see was from leftover. It tasted equally delicious.

Happy Saturday!

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*recipe source: Femina Magazine Indonesia

King Trumpet Mushrooms soup (蔬菜,蘑菇, 肉丸湯)

Whether you are accustomed to have soup with any of your meals or not, here is another easy and quick fix soup. This is a simple and easy to cook soup. Just boil everything and you have yourself warm nice soup for dinner tonight in less than half an hour. You need: king trumpet mushrooms/any mushroom will do – cut big slices (true to what I thought, this big meaty stem mushroom was very tasty for the soup, was the reason why I chose it), meat balls/chicken/any meat will do – cut slices, any green vegetables, 2 to 3 cups of broth. Add a bit of water to the stock and boil it In a pot. Once it boils, add the mushroom, meat and vegies. Do not forget to add seasoning to your taste. Serve it while it is hot. Enjoy and Happy Saturday!

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Congee (粥)

It has been ages since the last time we had congee at home. Adding to that, The weather has been hot and humid for months, which under any circumstances, I believe no one would want to eat hot congee in this kind of weather. As I recall, the last time we ate congee at home was in the full blast of an air condition room. I have been hoping for a rain and let the temperature cool down a bit so that we could have congee. And here came my luck. Last Sunday it rained so hard that I decided we had congee for breakfast.

According to Wikipedia, Congee or con jee is a type of rice porridge or gruel popular in many Asian countries. When eaten as plain rice congee, it is most often served with side dishes. When additional ingredients, such as meat, fish, and flavorings, are added whilst preparing the congee, it is most often served as a meal on its own, especially when one is ill. Names for congee are as varied as the style of its reparation. Despite its many variations, it is always a thick porridge or soup of rice which has usually disintegrated after prolonged cooking in water.

It was such a nice and cool weather that morning for a congee time. And so I made a quick and simple chicken congee with fritters (bought from market) as topping. I didn’t want to spent too much time in the kitchen preparing congee with any side dishes at all. Instead I wanted to eat and enjoy my cool early sunday morning while listening to the rain drops outside, with a cup of Chinese tea and morning papers. Life couldn’t be better at that moment.

All that is needed for chicken congee are rice and chicken. Wash any amount of rice you need and cook in the pot with water or chicken broth as you prefer. A cup of rice is enough for 2 to 3 people and 2 liter water. What I did with the chicken was cut it either slices or strips. Seasoned it with soy sauce and corn starch. Wait until the congee is cooked, add the chicken. Stir and mix the chicken in the congee and all is done. Sprinkle it with chopped spring onion and fritters when served. There may be add on side dishes as you prefer to go with your congee too. I like my congee plain and add soy sauce and white pepper as I eat. Happy Saturday!

*Congee can be cooked using rice cooker, slow cooker or over the stove method. For those who want to know how to cook congee over the stove method, please google it.

好久沒有煮粥了. 上星期日便煮了簡單的雞絲粥. 我相信您們都會煮的. 我就不多說了.

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Stir Fried Scallop and Broccoli (鮮貝炒西蘭花)

I have been wanting to buy that scallops in the market so many times I was there. They were so fresh, big and appealing. We rarely have fresh scallops on the supermarket shelves. Whenever it is available the price would be so steep that I would not have bought them. That day I was in the market, there was an offered. That was why we had stir fried scallops with broccoli for dinner.

If you prefered to have the broccoli separated just like mine, you have to boil them separately. Add a bit of sugar when boiling to preserve the color. When it is cool down, arrange it on a plate. I stir fried the scallops just like any stir fry. In the heated oil wok, we fry the chopped garlic till brown. Add the scallops and stir fry them for a minute or two and add cooking wine and seasoning. At last add the corn starch water in, to make that gravy. When it is done, pour the scallops on top of that pre arranged broccoli on the plate. Enjoy and Happy Saturday!

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Teriyaki Chicken (日式紅燒雞肉)

Have you ever wondered when you are in Jap restaurant having that delicious teriyaki chicken, how do I cook that chicken? Well I have thought about it since that first try at the restaurant.

I like to carry my ipad mini every where ever since I was given and love to browse in the app store, looking for anything free. Either they are games, food recipes or anything silly or useless apps to download and for me to pass the time.

Last week while browsing the recipes, I stumbled upon this easy to cook teriyaki recipe among so many recipes that I downloaded. This is the teriyaki result that I tried. It tasted very close to the one we had from the restaurant.

All we need is chicken thigh (preferably boneless chicken with skin). Pierce the chicken with a fork so that it would better absorb the sauce. In my case I sliced the chicken. Place the skin side of the chicken onto the pan’s surface and pan-fry it until the skin becomes brown. Turn it over and fry it until the other side of the chicken becomes white. Wipe off the oil that comes out of the chicken with paper towels. Add 100 cc of water and a little bit of salt, cover the pan with a lid, and simmer it over low heat.

When the chicken is cooked, add sugar and soy sauce and simmer it over low heat. The chicken should be turned over every once in a while. It is done when the broth becomes thick. Slice the chicken and pour the broth over the chicken after it has been cut. It is very easy, right? Try it and let me know how it turns out. Happy trying!

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Stir Fried and Steamed Glutinous Rice (糯米饭)

Once in a while when I am in good mood and have plenty of time, I love to cook this glutinous rice at home. This is a totally different kinda taste from the white rice we have daily. Although it seems like a lot of work put into this particular dish, but in fact it is not. To make my cooking chores simpler, I usually would only cook one dish which has everything in it for lunch or dinner.

There are so many different ingredients for this rice. But we can just have our own prefered ingredients in it. In this glutinous rice, I used chicken (cut dices), fresh mushroom (cut thin slices), dried cuttlefish (cut thin dices), dried shrimps (chop). Before cutting them, the dried shrimps and cuttlefish need to be soaked to soften them. The rice needs to be soaked as well for at least few hours or over night. It is because it takes longer time to cook this rice.

In a pre-heat oil wok, fry the chopped shrimps and cuttlefish first. Fry them until they are brown and add the chicken and mushroom. Stir fry them until cook and add the rice. The seasoning that I added were dark soy sauce for the color and soy sauce. Mix them well and keep stirring them. Try to spread them in thin layer and let them cook evenly over medium heat. When the water is about drying up, add more water but not too much of it. Please be very careful not to burn the bottom part of the rice. Repeat the procedure until the rice is half-cooked and then transfer it to the steamer. Steam them for about 25-30 minutes for the rice to be cooked. I like to steam them after stir fried because sometimes there is spot of rice that still uncooked and I want them to be cooked thoroughly. Serve the rice while it is still hot with pickle and chilly sauce and garnish it with coriander. Happy Saturday and enjoy!

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Note: Please use non stick wok to avoid burning the rice or use a bit more oil when stir frying them.

Oatmeal Butter Prawns (麥片蝦)

Have you ever heard and tried oatmeal butter prawns? This dish popular name is nestle prawns. It is because nestle cereal is usually used instead of breakfast oatmeal. A bit sweet crunchiness of fried oatmeal and crispiness prawns coupled with the curry leaves aroma make it tasty and a favorite to our family. I tried making it the other day. Cooking new dish usually makes me so nervous as I didn’t know how the dish would turn out. It took me a bit longer to prepare this dish and cook. Mainly because the prawns needed to be cleaned, cut, trimmed and fried. Cereal needed to be stir-fried separately.

We need: prawns, curry leaves, 3 table-spoon of oatmeal (preferebly two sachets of 3 in 1 nestum/nestle cereal), minced garlic, butter. If you use ordinary oatmeal, please add a tea-spoon sugar and non-dairy creamer and mix them well.

Preparation:

1. Clean the prawns: trim away the feelers of prawns and cut into half but leave the shells and remember to pat dry the prawns with paper towel. If you prefered you may toss in salt and a bit of corn starch to give flavor to prawns. Let it sit for 10 minutes.

2. In a very hot oil wok fry the prawns brown and set aside.

3. Remove oil from the wok, heat up the butter over medium heat. Brown the garlic and curry leaves till fragrance (you may add cut bird-eye chilly into the wok and stir fry them together) and add the cereal. Stir fry them till brown. When it is done, heat off and immediately add the cereal into the crisped prawns.

Try it, I guarantee you’ll love it. Happy Saturday!
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